Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Crossing the Sea - Dark, soggy, exciting

Red tide streaks through the water
We were treated to three whale sightings on February 17th during our afternoon passage south along the Baja peninsula. I let out a ‘whale!’ shout on sighting a good size spout followed by a tail at some distance from the bow. A few minutes later, a full tail splash along the forward portside, and finally a full length skim along the surface just a football field from our port side, gliding until a flick of that massive tail sent him diving. Of course, the camera in hand but not fast enough to capture the moment except in our memories.

And on February 14th - Sweet Valentine! We celebrated by crossing the Sea of Cortez, leaving San Carlos midday for the Baja and arriving after 18:15 hours at 7:30am on the 15th. Ours was truly a dark and soggy night. After so much rain during the passage, Pura Vida is clean and so are we, as we don’t have cover over our cockpit allowing us the full experience of whatever the weather brings.
Another amazing sunset between rain squalls
There was plenty of lightning all around - always scary on a sailboat with a 50 ft mast sticking up as if to say get me if you can! Thankfully, lightning strikes stayed at bay, thunder roared through the boat louder than our engine, stars poked through during the night and at 3am the waning crescent moon occasionally appeared through amazing cloud formations from a B-rated scary B&W movie.

We slowed down to arrive at the anchorage in the morning light which was slow in coming with such a gray sky. After 20 hours of testing the newly functioning autopilot and making our passage across the Sea, we dropped anchor in lovely Bahia Santo Domingo at the entrance to Bahia Concepcion. We’d purchased a bottle of champagne on our most recent trip to Nogales AZ to pick up the replacement autopilot computer. Since we were underway for the entire day and night, why not enjoy the champagne with our own boat-style Sunday brunch once safe in our anchorage? We toasted our safe arrival, ate slices of cold quiche I’d prepared for our passage then went to sleep for the morning. During night passages, neither of us sleep much (especially on the first night of our first passage) so that rest is magical and restorative. 

Hundreds of pied billed grebes move in unison
As we sat in the cockpit, we heard noises reminscent of whales breathing then realized it was the mass of grebes that surface and dive in unison, making the most amazing noise as they rustle the surface of the water.

Sunset at Bahia Santo Domingo

And so we enjoyed a relaxing day between sun and rain, watching rain squalls with wicked storm clouds swirling around followed by sun breaks then late afternoon, huge cumulo nimbus clouds brought in the most amazing lightning storm, thankfully a few miles to the north, watched from the safety of our dry cockpit. 
Our anchorage at San Carlos before heading across the Sea

Great profile rock formation at the entrance to Bahia San Carlos

1 comment:

  1. So glad you finally got underway! Wishing you safe travels and wonderful adventures as you continue your explorations this cruising season. Those rafts of little grebes are amazing - they delighted us in San Juanico ...diving in unison and resurfacing....Cheers.